Tyres

Types of Car Tyres

Picking the right set of tyres for your vehicle is more than just an aesthetic choice. If you're looking to improve your handling capabilities, performance on wet surfaces and in icy conditions, selecting an optimised set of tyres can make all the difference when it comes to road safety. Different types of tyres are largely defined by their tread pattern and can usually be grouped into a few key categories. We've laid out a few of the most common for a handy introduction and guide to help you brush on tyre and tread basics.

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Asymmetric Tyres

Asymmetric tyres provide varying tread patterns to accommodate various driving functions. On the outside of the tyre, asymmetric tyres usually boast thicker-cut, sturdy patterns to help maintain control and stability whilst performing motoring manoeuvres like turning a corner, while a finer ribbed pattern throughout the middle of a tyre helps provide overall stability whilst driving. On the inner side of the tyres, the tread pattern is smaller, designed to move water and improve grip and stability on wetter surfaces. Asymmetric tyres are clearly marked as so on the sidewalls. And must be correctly fitted facing the right way to ensure that the vehicle they're attached to receives the benefit of the specially adapted tread patterns.

Directional Tyres

Unlike multi-directional tyres, these types of tyres are designed to rotate in just one direction. Although some drivers may see this as a compromise, directional tyres in fact provide much better traction, all-weather performance and strong stability. Directional tyres boast an arrow-style tread pattern and are instantly recognisable, and the design is often incorporated into winter and all season tyres. It's essential that directional tyres are fitted on the correct side of a vehicle, otherwise the pattern can't be put to use effectively. These tyres are detailed with arrows, indicating the intended travelling direction of the tyres for easy reference when fitting.

Winter Tyres

In many countries, winter tyres aren't just a useful alternative to have to hand, they're a legal requirement. Winter tyres have many advantages for drivers looking to venture out in colder weather and with poorer road conditions. If you are looking to venture aboard during autumn or winter then comparing summer and winter tyres, to make sure you have the right ones is paramount. For one, winter tyres have specialised tread patterns, designed to provide enhanced flexibility at colder temperatures. Additionally, winter tyres usually boast a higher amount of silica to help maintain this higher level of flex. Although many parts of the United Kingdom don't experience adverse conditions for long enough to warrant having a set of winter tyres constantly at your disposal, they're a solid choice if you plan to drive on roads that aren't regularly maintained by gritters, providing you with better brake performance on ice and snow covered surfaces. You'll know if a tyre is suited for use in winter by a snowflake symbol on the sidewall.

All Season

If you're struggling to justify in a second set of winter tyres, all season tyres make a good alternative. Like ones designed for winter, all season tyres boast a higher concentration of silica to improve flexibility, along with tread patterns that provide a balance between everyday tyres and winter ones. If you're concerned about the cost implications of swapping out tyres seasonally, these can be an affordable alternative and provide you with enough flexibility to maintain adequate control on the roads. Regardless of which option you decide to go with, it's advised you pick a tyre tread of 2mm or more for wintry weather, as well as maintaining optimum pressure to ensure adequate grip and handling on potentially hazardous surfaces.